THERE is a very seasonal sound to the name of a new band making its live debut at Mad Hatters on Monday 23rd December.
However, do not go expecting jolly and up-lifting Christmas songs from Fake Plastic Trees.
Instead, the evening will focus on the music of gloomy rockers Radiohead, who provided the new band with their name.
Although Fake Plastic Trees are the type of band who prefer to let the music speak for them — hence the lack of a band picture — we did persuade lead vocalist Kenny to introduce us to the group.
You seem to have a very appropriate name for a band making your debut at this time of year. Coincidence?
Well spotted — let’s just say there will be a fake plastic Christmas tree on stage on Monday night...
So, who are Fake Plastic Trees?
Kenny (vocals, guitar, piano), Gordon (guitar), Paul (bass), Tom (drums) — suffice to say we have collectively, years of experience playing live and working in studios, the important thing with this project is that the audience focus on the music and not the players — the tribute is solely to the songs of Radiohead.
You mention other artists you like on your website, so what is it that makes Radiohead special and makes you want to concentrate on their songs?
I’d have to say lyrically the songs are beautiful works of art and the music so melodic as well as challenging to perform — but the material is readily accessible to a wide audience — something for everyone really. Plus we liked the idea of not being a tribute band as such, but paying tribute to the songs.
How hard was it to choose the songs in the set?
Great question. It would have been so easy to have just rattled out the obvious choices — we wanted to pick a track from every album - and we wanted to concentrate on what we all love about Radiohead — the most melodic numbers — we think that’s what an audience would want to hear. And maybe if you are someone who hasn’t heard Radiohead, then we will give you a good introduction.
What is your approach to playing Radiohead songs: are you keen to recreate the originals as closely as possible or do you favour a more individual interpretation?
We definitely take an individual approach with some of the numbers. There are five members of Radiohead and only four of us, so we have had to re-arrange things slightly, but I believe we have stayed true to the core element of each song.
Someone walked in on one of our rehearsals a few weeks back and heard us play one of the songs — his comment was: "I don’t really like Radiohead, but I liked that..."
We haven’t told Thom Yorke that one...
What are the future plans for Fake Plastic Trees, or are you just testing the water with this show?
I definitely think we are testing the water and gauging the interest and response with this show. I personally think we’d be well suited to festivals and the odd art centre show, but it’s not something you could gig every week.
And finally: what are your favourite Radiohead songs ?
Kenny: It would have to be something of the In Rainbows album, I’m going to go with the track Reckoner as it’s definitely the most challenging to sing — but beautifully crafted lyrically.
Gordon: Jigsaw Falling Into Place from In Rainbows. I love the guitar line and it’s probably the most enjoyable to play live.
Paul: I’d go with the title track from The Bends album. Great rock riffs and excellent lyrics.
Tom: would have to be Nice Dream for me, beautiful singing melody and lyrically brilliant — and a wonderful nightmare image guitar solo.
• Fake Plastic Trees make their live debut performance at Hootananny’s Mad Hatters bar on Monday 23rd December.